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Mobile Phones Repair: What Type of Boxes Should I Choose?

If you are a beginner in repairing mobile phones you will mostly deal with typical problems such as unlocking a phone from the carrier’s network, repairing IMEI, reflashing the phone, memory partitioning, etc. To do this you have to use special software and hardware.

Hardware is a box or dongle with the necessary interfaces. Software part works only together with the box or dongle.

There are so many boxes and dongles on the market at this moment. So the question arises: which one to choose.

We will try to explain you some specific information to help you make the right choice.

First of all, you should understand what kind of operation you need to perform. You can do the following using simple connection via micro-USB cable:

  • Read / backup phone info
  • Direct unlock
  • Read unlock codes
  • Read / Write firmware
  • Repair IMEI
  • Reset screen lock
  • Reset FRP
  • Root (not for all phone models)
  • etc.

These are the basic level procedures you can do using a box or dongle. In most cases, there is no need for a COM / UART interface. Consequently, all you need is a box or a dongle, a micro-USB cable, Windows operation system based PC, Internet connection and your phone.

Most of developers and manufacturers of boxes have their own big archives with firmwares for a large number of phone models. Also, they can share some specific files for servicing phones with users. For example, these can be certificate files for repairing IMEI, combination firmware files for some operations with Samsung smartphones, QCN files, root files and solutions, etc.

So, let’s see what a box and a dongle are.

Box is a device which should be connected directly to PC with a simple USB A-B cable. It has a metal or plastic case. The front side features (UART) interface connector, simple USB hub, and LEDs which inform you about the current status of the box. The back side features a USB type B connector and a smart-card reader slot.

Dongle is a much simpler device. Actually, it is just a smart-card reader. It looks like a USB flash memory. However, it has a card reader inside. If you want to use a dongle, you will need external COM interfaces or ports. For example, COM port of your PC, that is located on the back side of the motherboard. Also, you can use a COM interface from other boxes. Actually, all of the boxes have COM port emulators. If you use a laptop for servicing, a box will be a better choice than a dongle.

All these devices have a smart-card in common. Why is the card used so often? The smart card serves as a protection against unauthorized use of software; also it should be used for identification of the user on the developer’s server. In most cases you can’t enter the service area without a smart-card. And this is where the service files are.

However, you can face much more difficult cases, such as dead boot, problems with internal memory partitions, etc. Such problems cannot be solved with simple USB connection. You have to use a JTAG interface. This interface could be found in the boxes like:

  • Octoplus
  • Medusa Pro
  • Z3X Easy JTAG
  • RIFF box
  • ATF (Advance Turbo Flasher) box (you can purchase from official dealer at gsmserver.com)

All these boxes should work through JTAG connection. All you need is correct pinouts for soldering wires directly to phone. When wires are connected to the phone you will be able to get full access to phone’s main processor and memory. In most cases you will find correct pictures with pinouts and detailed manuals in the box’s software (do not forget to check “Help” section before servicing the phone).

Moreover, Medusa Pro, Z3X Easy JTAG, RIFF box, and ATF Box can work directly with phone’s eMMC chip. You can connect it directly according to the provided pinouts or use eMMC adapters. If you want to use eMMC adapters, you have to desolder eMMC chip from phone’s mainboard and insert the chip in adapter.

There are two types of the adapters.  Cheaper versions require soldering eMMC chip to adapter, and in more expensive adapters you just insert the chip in the clip and close the upper cover. Then plug the adapter to the box connector, add external 5 V power and that’s all. Now the following procedures become available:

  • Dead boot repair
  • Device repair
  • Partition manager
  • Read / Write / Erase eMMC

Available functions depend on a certain device model. You should check supported features on the official page of the product.

We recommend using MOORC JTAG-ISP Adapter 5-in-1 adapters (requires soldering eMMC chip) or E-Mate Pro eMMC Tool (soldering is not required).

Working in the web development and marketing industry for over 10 years. Been part of several large projects, coded a lot of websites, and owning several bigger projects. Right now, I am focused more on my personal life, doing what I like, trying not to be someone's slave... if you know what I mean.

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